Inclusive Restroom Design: A Comprehensive Analysis of Inclusive & Gender Specific Restrooms in K-12 Schools
Access to bathrooms is a basic human right. They matter and their design matters. While the programming and look of schools is dramatically changing, bathroom design has remained largely the same.
While ongoing conversations and laws continue to evolve at the state and federal levels, very little data regarding the implementation and logistics of inclusive bathrooms, or bathrooms which are non-gender specific, exist at the K-12 level. In much of the United States, school districts recognize the issue but do not have the information readily available to address it. The intent of this research is to provide a brief understanding of the pending 2021 ICC codes, which include both building (IBC) and plumbing (IPC) codes, which allow for inclusive restrooms and the implications for K-12 schools, and serve as a guide to obtaining approval of an alternative code-compliant design, using the key components of the design of inclusive restrooms, prior to the 2021 ICC codes’ adoption. (Note: the intent of the code compliance section of this research is to provide a case study, based on the 2015 Minnesota State Building Code, which incorporates the 2012 IBC and IPC. This research does not guarantee approval of the case study design by any particular building official.)
In addition, this study includes a comprehensive analysis of gender specific and inclusive restrooms designed by Cuningham Group Architecture from 2012-2017 as well as enumerates key design components of inclusive restrooms.
This research includes data taken from a case study at Johnson High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, which includes a survey, administered to the students of Johnson High School who have been “living” with inclusive restrooms for the past two years to understand which elements of the design contribute most to their feelings of safety and security.
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